The Fila Brasileiro (or Brazilian Mastiff) is a large working breed of dog developed in Brazil.
The Fila Brasileiro is a Molosser breed with large bones and loose skin. The breed standard requires males to be between 65 and 75 cm (27 - 29.5 in) high at the shoulder and weigh at least 50 kg (100 lb). Females are slightly smaller and expected to be 60 to 70 cm (24 - 27.5 in)tall, and weigh at least 40 kg (90 lb).
The coat of the Fila Brasileiro is smooth and short. Solid yellow, reddish tans, and brindled colours are permitted, except mouse-grey and solid white. White markings, not exceeding 1/4 of the coat surface area, are permitted on the feet, chest, and the tip of the tail in the FCI/CBKC standard. The CAFIB standard allows more white and does not penalize for white markings on the nose.
The Fila Brasileiro is an excellent estate guardian and cattle dog. It does not hide its aversion to strangers, consequently these dogs are not disqualified from the show ring for showing aggression to the judge. Their faithfulness to family and friends is legendary. It should be noted that this is not a breed for everyone. The Fila needs a confident, experienced owner who can properly curb the breed's natural aggression towards strangers. Because of its aggression, it is not well suited to busy households which have many guests. Such aggression is instinctive in Filas, so much so that the Brazilian breed standard advises show judges to not touch the dog.  However, the FCI standard allows for disqualification of very aggressive dogs. Few Filas will not attack for no reason, but none will be friendly with strangers.
Filas love and bond strongly with their immediate families. They live to protect their loved ones, including children and other pets. They do not readily accept strangers and need an extended introduction period to warm up to others they do not know. Some will never warm up to any stranger. Some bloodlines have less temperament than others and might accept a stranger if introduced properly by the owner, but it should never be assumed that every Fila can be trained to accept strangers. They are known to play very well with children and take a great deal of "abuse" from them, as long as they are family. Filas are extremely loyal & protective and they love being around their owners.
The Fila Brasileiro is believed to have been developed from a number of breeds, predominantly the Mastiff, the Bulldog, and the Bloodhound (the last contributing to breed's loose skin). The Fila Brasileiros were found primarily on large plantations and cattle farms from where they originated. Reportedly, they are also excellent tracking dogs and were used to track Brazilian slaves and fugitives. Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz contributed largely in writing the breed standard and importing the fila from the farms to Sao Paulo. In the 1970s, due to political pressures from the dog world cynophilia, the stud book was closed in Brazil. This led to the split of the Fila Brasileiro into two distinct bloodlines, often referred to by their registries, CBKC and CAFIB. CAFIB offers phenotypical evaluation and registration for unregistered dogs, in the hopes of preserving the working abilities of Fila Brasileiro dogs in remote regions of the country.
In the United Kingdom it is illegal to own any of these dogs without specific exemption from a court. See Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for details.
- Guard dog
- List of dog fighting breeds